This is a continuation of a series on relational equity.

Part 1 can be found here.

Stop Manipulating

I’m suggesting you should stop attempting to manipulate your spouse into doing what you want them to do. In fact, my assumption is that you can never manipulate someone into doing something and have a long term healthy relationship with them. Seriously think about the people you know and have known over the years, how many of them had manipulation be a part of the story and it actually went well? How many of them ended in divorce. One of the sad truths of being a counselor focusing on relationships is the fact that most often people are resistant too the idea of changing their own behavior in order to change the relationship. Every time, you manipulate, even if you get what you wanted you lose relational equity. If your relational equity hits zero, you destroy emotional security. It’s that simple.

Our view of our relationship made in a day. Our spouses view of the painting that is our relationship is not made in a day. It’s a compilation of a thousand brush strokes. Those brush strokes either build or take down relational equity. One of the arenas where we make really large deposits or withdrawals is in the arena of conflict with our spouse. Think about how many hurtful things typically get said in a fight. Consider how many sentences are never given the opportunity to be finished before the speaker is cut off and is told why the thought that they were not able to finish is not only wrong but they are also stupid. This is the pattern we must change. We must change it in how we fight, how we communicate when we’re not angry and how we do life together.

If you’re a yeller and you purposely don’t yell, your spouse can’t help but notice. If you are a sarcasmer (yes, I made that word up) and you refrain from using sarcasm, your partner will take notice and it will register. If you are a shut down withdrawer and you purposely engage…well, I think you get the idea.

It will be messy. Life is messy. Love is messy. When we enter into a marriage relationship, we are trying to build both. It’s bound to be incredibly messy, but also worth it. The problem is that usually we expect our spouse to notice and respond immediately. We expect the equity to build on one shot. So the yeller doesn’t yell and his spouse still attacks. That’s it! Back to yelling for him.

Imagine, buying a house and then being angry because the equity didn’t go up significantly the next day. That would be ridiculous and most people would laugh at a person who reacted that way. But that is exactly what we do, when we get upset because our spouses “didn’t notice that we’ve changed after one or two disagreements.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at part three.

Similar Posts